Flyers

Flyers 4, Islanders 1: No Jakub Voracek or Nolan Patrick, no problem

Flyers 4, Islanders 1: No Jakub Voracek or Nolan Patrick, no problem

BOX SCORE

Just like old times.

The first regular-season game at Nassau Coliseum in four years was reminiscent of the Flyers' dominance in years past. 

Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim continued their red-hot play with first-period goals, and Brian Elliott stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory Sunday over the Islanders.

Here are my observations:

• Jakub Voracek missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury and is day to day. As a result, interim head coach Scott Gordon elected to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen (which he admitted he doesn't prefer to do). However, I question the Flyers' decision to not carry an extra forward on this three-game road trip and/or why they didn’t call one up from Lehigh Valley, which would have been a short drive to Long Island. 

• After losing Nolan Patrick, who took a shot to the back of the head, the Flyers were relegated to just 10 forwards. With that, Gordon was forced to mix and match his lines. One thought was to move a defenseman into a fourth-line wing role, like Shayne Gostisbehere. Patrick missed the remainder of the game with an upper-body injury and is day to day.

If Patrick can’t return for Wednesday’s game against the Capitals, it will be interesting to see what direction Gordon goes with his roster. The team could recall Justin Bailey or it could possibly give Greg Carey a look on a short-term basis. Carey has three 25-goal seasons with the Phantoms.

• You don’t see Sanheim overpower a forward too often, but he has a nose for the goal right now as he bulled his way past Anthony Beauvillier to score his fourth goal in his last four games. Sanheim has become the Flyers' best offensive defenseman and he’s putting up the numbers to prove that, with 14 points in his last 16 games.

• Did you notice just how horrific the Islanders' defensemen were in this game? Konecny abused Scott Mayfield on the Flyers' first goal, but the real gaffe came with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk collapsing on Michael Raffl, leaving the Islanders' forwards to fend for themselves in front of the net. Scott Laughton took full advantage and put home his own rebound.

• Who knows how the goaltending job will be divided once Carter Hart returns, but as long as Brian Elliott continues to turn in solid performances, Gordon needs to ride the hot hand. Elliott hasn’t had a clunker of a game since his return from injury, and while he doesn’t always make a textbook save, he just stops the puck, and this was one of his best against Jordan Eberle.

• The Islanders provided such a lifeless performance, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a letdown following their 6-1 trouncing of the Maple Leafs in the return of John Tavares. Perhaps it’s perfect timing the Flyers face them three times this month, including next Saturday.

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Flyers roster cuts: Prospects Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie sent back to junior teams

Flyers roster cuts: Prospects Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie sent back to junior teams

The Flyers made a round of cuts Wednesday following their first two preseason games.

The team returned prospects Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie, Mason Millman and Egor Serdyuk to their junior clubs.

Zamula is a rising prospect that looks like a promising undrafted discovery by the Flyers. The 6-foot-3, 172-pound defenseman is a smooth skater with developing skills. The 19-year-old drew the praise of general manager Chuck Fletcher during rookie camp and was impressive in Monday night's preseason opener.

"I really like [Zamula]," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after the game. "I have seen him in practice, I see that there's a young kid there that's got good mobility and can make good plays with the puck. Tonight, against an NHL opponent, I really liked his poise and his demeanor on the ice. 

"I thought stick-wise and mobility-wise, he did a lot of good things on the ice that as a coach, you're looking and you say, 'This guy's got a chance here.' There's no doubt in my mind that this young man's got a chance to play at some point."

He'll be a prospect to keep an eye on this season with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

Wylie, a 19-year-old defenseman, is a notable move given the Flyers have yet to sign him to an entry-level contract. During this summer's development camp, Wylie was unsure if he would return to the WHL's Everett Silvertips for his fourth and final junior season. There was a possibility the 2018 fifth-round pick could earn his ELC and join AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Instead, he'll head back to the Silvertips and shoot for his contract throughout the season.

The Flyers also released camp invites Maxim Golod, Ben McCartney, Sean Comrie and Mika Cyr from their amateur tryouts.

The team's roster is at 54 players.

Forwards

Andy Andreoff
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Connor Bunnaman
Greg Carey
Sean Couturier
Kyle Criscuolo
Joel Farabee
Gerry Fitzgerald
Morgan Frost
Kurtis Gabriel
Claude Giroux
Kevin Hayes
David Kase
Travis Konecny
Pascal Laberge
Scott Laughton
Oskar Lindblom
Cal O'Reilly
Nolan Patrick
Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl
Isaac Ratcliffe
German Rubtsov
Chris Stewart
Matthew Strome
Maksim Sushko
Carsen Twarynski
James van Riemsdyk
Jakub Voracek
Mikhail Vorobyev

Defense

Chris Bigras
Justin Braun
T.J. Brennan
Josh Couturier
David Drake
Mark Friedman
Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg
Robert Michel
Samuel Morin
Philippe Myers
Matt Niskanen
Nate Prosser
Ivan Provorov
Travis Sanheim
Andy Welinski
Reece Willcox
Tyler Wotherspoon

Goalies

Jean-Francois Berube
Brian Elliott
Carter Hart
Alex Lyon
Felix Sandstrom
Kirill Ustimenko

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German Rubtsov continues roster push, Carter Hart sharp, more from Flyers' OT preseason loss

German Rubtsov continues roster push, Carter Hart sharp, more from Flyers' OT preseason loss

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The Flyers couldn't get one back against the Islanders.

Alain Vigneault's team dropped consecutive preseason games to New York after losing, 3-2, in overtime Tuesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Flyers never trailed until the Islanders' OT winner.

They have five exhibition games remaining. Big names like Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen have yet to dress for the Flyers.

Let's get into some observations:

• German Rubtsov came into the action as one of the most notable roster hopefuls on Tuesday night's game roster. He has played a lot. He competed in rookie camp, scored two goals in the prospects game, performed well in Monday night's preseason opener and was back in the lineup Tuesday.

The Flyers are challenging him.

"That's one of the reasons he's playing tonight," Vigneault said after morning skate. "There are some decisions to be made and some of the things we're going to do is put some players in a tougher spot to see how they react to it."

Rubtsov once again did some positive things. During the second period, he stripped the puck in a battle along the boards and rung the post, nearly giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead. However, he lost 10 faceoffs.

But he really showed himself when he raced out of the chute with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He's healthy, strong and is looking more and more like an NHL center.

• Michael Raffl opened the game's scoring with a first period goal on a deflection. He and Scott Laughton were the only forwards in the lineup that played regularly for the Flyers last season.

Raffl will be a quietly reliable guy for the Flyers in 2019-20. Expect to see him on the fourth line and the penalty kill. The 30-year-old played a career-low 11:25 per game in 2018-19 and his minutes should be in that ballpark this season. Those lesser minutes are important, though, when they come on the PK and against the opposition's better lines to give the Flyers' top-six guys a blow.

• Carter Hart made his preseason debut and stopped all 14 shots he faced in 30 minutes.

He has been sharp in camp and the anticipation is there for his first full NHL season.

"For me, I'm here and I'm ready to play," Hart said last weekend. "I put in a lot of work this summer, on and off the ice. I added some muscle, added some durability and I feel really healthy in net, really strong."

Jean-Francois Berube allowed three goals in relief, including the OT winner, when he couldn't locate the puck after making the initial save.

• After a recent camp practice, Maksim Sushko spent a lot of time deflecting pucks at the net. He did about four or five rounds of redirecting shots.

The practice paid off as Sushko screened the goalie on a Chris Bigras goal in the third period. Sushko may have gotten a piece of it. Those role forwards understand that scoring chances will come from effort in limited minutes. Sushko is a 2017 fourth-round pick with speed and entering his first season with the Phantoms.

• Kurtis Gabriel got involved in the action. Flyers fans may recall the name. He's a big guy that likes to be physical and the former Devil is trying to get in the conversation for the Flyers' bottom six. Emotions boiled over between Gabriel and Ross Johnston during the second. In the third, captain Anders Lee laid a big hit on Gabriel, who was banged up and forced to leave momentarily.

Gabriel returned to the game for a short stint, but if anything lingers, it will obviously impact his roster chances with five exhibition games left.

• Bigras was signed on July 1 to a two-way deal. The 2012 second-round pick has 46 NHL games under his belt and enjoyed a career year in the AHL last season, scoring 22 points in 52 games. He had a nice game Tuesday night with two points and a plus-1 rating. The 24-year-old will be good for Lehigh Valley.

Nate Prosser, another defenseman, had an assist but was beat on the Islanders' second goal and was slow to react on New York's first goal. He played under general manager Chuck Fletcher from 2009 to 2018.

• Roster hopeful Andy Andreoff, who has shown a blend of toughness and skill in camp, was not very noticeable during his 15 minutes.

• The Flyers are off from practice Wednesday before welcoming the Bruins Thursday for the their third preseason game (7 p.m./NBCSP).

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